Learning to fly

Ok, I’ll count this post as gratuitous bird stuff.  Part of it does stem from a question I get a lot: “how do birds learn to fly?”  Well, they learn by doing.  The most important piece of it, though, is getting their muscles ready for the stress of flight.  As a result, all birds spent a lot of time in the nest working out those big muscle groups before they ever take to the air.   Once they take off and leave the nest, they’re on their own. So why gratuitous?  Because in order to answer this question about flying, I was able to get some pictures of those young Peregrine Falcons doing some of this practice.  This balcony near the nest seems like an ideal place for a young bird to get some experience.

You can also see that most of their baby feathers have been molted.  They’re nearly ready to take off!

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About thomasbiology

I'm an Associate Professor of Biology at Queens University of Charlotte with a background in animal behavior with an emphasis in bird song. I've got two secret goals with this blog (well, since I'm sharing them, they're not so secret): 1. To encourage people to look at the natural world around them- not just as a hiking destination, but to notice all the little things moving around them all the time; and 2. To show some of the science that relates to these little things moving around. There's some really fascinating research out there that so few people get to see.
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